Toyota has unveiled two unique concept restomods at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2023. They are both based on the Toyota AE86 and both are quite unique, but only one is actually electrified. One is a typical battery electric vehicle (BEV), while the other has an engine that burns hydrogen as fuel instead of gasoline – it’s not a fuel cell vehicle, even though it could have been given the fact that Toyota is a leader in this field.
This dual-prong approach reflects how Toyota currently sees the future of its cars, how it’s looking for alternatives to EVs and how it’s still not quite ready to commit to making fully-electric vehicles like most other manufacturers have. And the manufacturer is clearly looking to tap into its fan base and create an emotional response, which is undeniably why it’s chosen to modify one of its most iconic models ever, the AE86, made famous around the world by the Initial D anime series.
The first is the AE86 H2 Concept, which will drive and feel much like a regular internal combustion-engined vehicle (because it is one). It uses two high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks from a Mirai, which are mounted in the rear of the car and with minimal modifications to its powertrain, this vehicle has no problem running on compressed hydrogen.
Gallery: Toyota AE86 H2 and AE86 BEV concepts
The AE86 BEV concept is a typical EV, though. It borrows its electric motor from the Tundra hybrid and the battery pack from a Prius plug-in hybrid, as well as other components taken from unnamed Toyota models. The manufacturer doesn’t go into too much detail about these two vehicles – no technical specs are mentioned – but they are pretty cool projects.
They don’t seem to serve any purpose other than to reinforce the fact that Toyota still doesn’t fully believe in EVs. Back in December, the Japanese automaker’s CEO Akio Toyoda expressed his view that even though automakers appear very open to embracing EVs, “the silent majority” remains in doubt as to their future.
Even so, Toyota is investing in EVs and it has announced a whole slew of models, both under its own brand, as well as ones wearing a Lexus badge. It recently trademarked some new names for its future EVs, giving strong hints as to its future EV range’s naming structure; the manufacturer previously announced plans to have over 15 EVs on the market by 2030.
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